Ever wonder what happens if the GAME OVER screen appears for the player, but time was allowed to continue? FemShep/Garrus and ME2 spoilers
Shepard crouched behind one wall, glancing out into the adjoining hallway for any sign of enemies. Her knees ached from the constant need for cover, but it was a necessity with the constant barrage of bullets.
Behind her, Garrus and Mordin moved with enough efficiently to make her think she was alone in the deserted hospital. All this trouble for Mordin's former assistant, but she couldn't say no to a life in danger. Besides, Mordin had given so much for the success against the Collector's that she couldn't have said no. He needed this as much as she needed him.
Exhaling sharply in relief, she tentatively shoved away from the wall and began inching along the cool rock walls farther into the destroyed building.
"Hospitals." Mordin grunted, swiveling his gun around to a niche in the wall; a perfect place for one to hide. "Not a good place to fight?"
Shepard battled to hold her eyebrow down, but couldn't hide the snort. "What is a good place to fight?" She muttered, pausing to not only catch her breath, but slow her heartbeat back to some sort of regularity.
"Gardens," Garrus responded casually, "electronic stores. Antique stores, but only if they're classy…"
Snorting back a laugh to prevent the unwanted echoes, Shepard tilted her head to catch the turian's amused glance. His undamaged mandible shifted in his way of a small smirk; the other twitching to accommodate, but only causing pain. With a reminding wince, Garrus' smile faded and he shifted back into cover behind the Commander.
"Only you, Garrus," Shepard responded, sneaking one small smile in his direction.
Only him…. but Garrus would never understand entirely and she didn't want to tell him. She had become a universal icon- the savior of the Citadel and the destroyer of Sovereign and if she did break the news that perhaps… she had fallen for the Archangel… then maybe Garrus would only turn away.
And yet, his "research" and his willingness to try had surprised her… even if she was grinning from ear to ear after each time she traveled down to simply talk to him. He was always there, no matter what was going on.
Even if the only chance she had to be with him would only be for one night only, it would be enough. He made her want to keep pushing; with his humor, the low murmured stories of his reach and the gentle look in his eyes on hard missions.
A cough vibrated through the building and Shepard froze- her body stiffening in preparation for an upcoming battle. Immediately Mordin and Garrus slipped ahead into the large open space of a crosswalk with walkways surrounding every side of the squared room. With the ceiling completely gone, they were open to various areas of attack, if the enemy was in the mood for something different. With very little cover beside the small stone railings along one side of the walkways, there was nothing to keep them protected. A long walk away, two doors with green lights flickered on either side through the mist of dust and other airborne debris.
Perfect place for an ambush.
"Cover," Shepard whispered, crouching low against the small stonewalls that separated her team from a very steep fall to the first floor. Mordin slipped to the corner of their small hiding place and looked over just as two large krogan stepped out from the farthest door with it immediately locking behind them.
Hissing, Garrus scrambled to the other corner with Shepard remaining in the middle. Slipping her head above the ledge, Shepard watched the crimson-clad krogan pair walk slowly down the crosswalk to get to the other door. There was enough silence for the Commander to hear her own heartbeat, and her breathing sounded too loud for the quiet.
Side by side, there was no way to take the two down silently. The closest would only be there to shield the other, but prove to soak in extra bullets meant for the second and attract more attention.
Trembling in the throws of an adrenaline rush, Shepard rose from her cover and fired. Startled and with their shield degrading, the Krogan returned fire in a spray. The doors on either side slide open with a hiss and exposed even more backup for the Krogans.
Crouched low, Shepard waited for an opening, while Mordin took down one of the Krogan. Whooping in triumph, he nodded at the Commander before sneaking ahead along the wall. Switching to something heavier, Shepard eased up from her spot and shifted to trace after one of the armed men who had chosen to group with a few others. The blast radius would destroy a few and maybe, with luck, knock a few others back for some crucial moments.
Commander Shepard always needed a little luck.
The growls from behind caused her hairs to stand on end and forced her heart skip a beat. Garrus occasionally growled in simple frustration, but it normally formed into words that he readily vented out. This was pure animal…
Spinning on her heel, Shepard stared into the large eyes of a muddy colored Varren. Crouched low, his muscles tightened before springing forward with claws spread for puncture.
Pain. Crashing to the ground with an audible thud, Shepard warded off the fangs with her arms as she tried to get a hold of a gun… any gun… Hard teeth dug through her armor- gnawing at her ribcage and arms like they were toys.
Flesh ripped and blood flowed freely from the wounds as the Varren tore and chewed. Choking on the pain, Shepard fought back- kicking and punching at the enemy she could barely see through a haze of drool and blood.
The Varren cried out before crumpling with a weight that crushed her lungs in a searing fire. Gasping, she pushed and felt torn and angry muscles strain to move the heavy animal, but one quick shove and it was away with Garrus and Mordin leaning over her.
"Bleeding. Muscle tears. Broken ribs. Not good. Must get to Normandy for further care. Medi-Gels not efficient." Morbin droned out, touching her arm with tender care, but the pain only increased. "Going to call Normandy," Mordin insisted, stepping away to let his light voice talk into the earpiece.
"Shepard," Garrus repeated in urgency, a claw reaching around to lift up her torso to let her see more than sky. "It doesn't look all that bad… even better than my face," He sighed, but the fear was there like the remaining whispers of the Protheans.
Coughing out her laugh, Shepard followed the light mood, "Nothing could ever outmatch your face, Garrus." Her world was spinning and even the blurry Garrus couldn't keep her from wanting to sleep.
"Shuttle on the way. Blood loss to dangerous levels," Mordin continued, his voice ringing in her ears and into the empty space of her skull. "Must move her, the shuttle can't land here… cannot stand on own… You want to carry or should I? You are a better in dealing with enemies, but I can unlock needed doors. Pros and cons for both. Must decide quickly."
"Mordin," Shepard ordered, her lungs aching at the high tone needed to reach the Salarian's attention. "Help me up. Garrus, take point." Without her consistent orders, Mordin and Garrus would only bicker… even if she was bleeding to death. Switching places, Garrus shook his hands free of blood and the thick warm liquid splattered over the walls before he reached for his rifle. Mordin, though slender as he was, quickly hoisted Shepard upwards and aided her along.
She had lost feeling of her legs long ago, but the need to move made her remember the simplistic unthinking things.
One foot, then the other… each step a moment of agony, but also a necessity. Shepard focused on the immobile objects- former pieces of cover- that slowly passed by as Mordin urged her forward- one arm wrapped around the scientist's shoulders.
"Just dragging feet. Must find better solution." Mordin grumbled and Shepard immediately glanced down. All her assumptions and yet, here she was, limp and useless like a piece of meat. Grunting with effort, the scientist scooped her up and the scenery began swirling by at a faster pace.
"The shuttle's up ahead," Garrus shouted, keeping the rifle poised as they rounded into another area the team had cleared earlier. "Clear. Get to the shuttle!"
Whirling machinery echoed in the chambers as the shuttle hovered for their arrival. Closing her eyes against the dust awoken by the engines, Shepard waited for the rocking to end before peaking her eyes open. Carefully placed on the cold metal floor of the transportation, Mordin shifted into view.
Garrus leaped into the compartment and slammed the door behind him just as the shuttle lifted for the Normandy. "How is she?" He whispered, his chest rumbling at the low tone. Shepard focused on the turian soldier, watching the soft blues of his eyes shift between worry and fear.
Reading deeper, maybe the one night fling had turned into an actual relationship in his mind. But maybe she was fooling herself.
"Body temperature dropping; Cerberus implants sustaining vitals."
"Mordin," Shepard gasped as her lungs burned, thinking of ways to hush the scientist, "I think it would be best if you kept those observations to yourself." The last thing she needed was detailed knowledge of her increasing blood loss… and how she was barely surviving.
"Yes," came his immediate response, but it was distracted as usual. If something else had enraptured his attention, then maybe it was a good thing.
Even the normal soothing hum of the shuttle was no relief from the constant agony that raced along her body. Years of training told her that tears of pain would be useless in the given situation - she had gone through much worse as it was.
The docking in the belly of the Normandy was efficient, if not a slow process. As soon as the shuttle doors opened, Shepard dully noted the masses piling into the small vehicle for her. Dr. Chakwas and her kit led in the group that consisted most of her team.
"We need her at the medical bay. I can't do much good here," the doctor murmured, backing away for everyone to exit without tripping on feet.
She was cold, pained, and miserable. Blinking back her need to sleep, Shepard searched for the one who pushed her onward through the thickest of times.
"Garrus," she whispered, her hands twitching in a meager attempt to reach him. Standing over her, the Turian glanced down over the rim of his armor and simply stared. Her face was twisted in unexpressed pain, but even still, he could see the weak desperation.
"Mordin, I've got her from here," Garrus insisted, scooping her up with surprising ease. He had always assumed she was heavier than the light package he now held.
She had lost all the warmth of a normal human, but he wasn't quite sure how to help. Of course, he knew that she would need the blood to be restored- something that could come from the med bay at least, but he couldn't face losing her for a second time.
The sterile tang of the med bay stung his sensitive senses as the whole team paused outside the med bay doors- in the respect for Shepard's privacy. This was a moment of importance for everyone Shepard had brought together. If they lost her, so would all the determination of the team.
Many of them simply joined because of Shepard… like him. He could have said no to the insanity behind the Commander's mission or had a fit like Alenko over Shepard's new company. Garrus- the Archangel - would have followed Shepard to the very brinks of hell… like they were already doing… if she simply smiled at him.
"We need to get her body temperature stable. Mordin," Dr. Chakwas pointed across the room. "I store everything we'll need over there to get her fixed up." Moving with unnatural ease, the scientist scoped out the needed wires and needles. Garrus' mandibles shifted in his own unease as they carefully removed bits of Shepard's armor- leaving only the light shirt that kept the armor from rubbing painfully against skin. Though even the flimsy shirt itself was torn from the Varren, it was better than seeing everything.
And here Garrus had prepared himself for something special between her and him… now here he was standing around with her barely clothed across the room.
"Miranda, we need to get her warmed up," the doctor continued, her orders the only familiar sound in the deathly silence of the remaining members.
"On it," the Cerberus agent shouted from near the door and the clip of her shoes against the grated floor faded with distance.
Shepard had grown increasingly pale, almost pure white during the entire trip and her breathing had grown incredibly shallow. Every inhale slowed further as she laid, sprawled, on one of Dr. Chakwas' tables. Beneath the lights, she already looked dead.
Her eyes had closed long ago and her body was limp as the Salarian scientist and human doctor tossed her around the table. Needles punctured her arms and fluids quickly rushed inward as high-tech equipment began sewing the skin back to normalcy.
As Dr. Chakwas stitched up the flaps of skin torn from the Varren, Mordin quickly wrapped up the newly healed skin in starch white bandages for safety. The pooling blood had eased, though it still covered both along with the table and floor.
"Her temperature is still dropping," Mordin observed, examining the vitals on a data pad. The orange glow brightened as more white text flowed on screen as the computer gauged Shepard's outcome.
"I… have an idea," Garrus spoke, inching away from the rest to the impatient gaze of the doctor. "Turians run at a higher temperature than humans." Gauging the silence as a sign for him to continue, he pressed onward. "I can keep her warm until she can function on her own."
Mordin was the first to blink. "Good solution. Consistent high temperatures will work very well. Best way to get to equilibrium of human body. But, Garrus…" The two aliens battled stares. "Your armor must be removed for proper heating balance."
"Understood." This was for Shepard, not for his own comfort. If he didn't do this, there would be another piece of guilt on his shoulders and another one of his team gone.
"Are you sure Garrus?" Dr. Chakwas pressed and as soon as the Turian nodded, she began moving supplies. "Mordin, if you would please take these down to Garrus' position near the batteries. The room will be warmer there. Garrus, I'll met you there with Shepard. I'll make her a little less bloody and replace this shirt of hers."
The dim red lights of the battery housing were both a relief and a comfort as Garrus monitored Mordin and the doctor shift Shepard and the equipment over. Everything seemed right, the musky smell of the batteries and even the low hum of the Normandy eased the heightened stress.
"Not many Turians are comfortable in removing their armor, Garrus. I respect your decision and we'll leave you alone, but if you need anything, we're going to be right outside the door. Though I think that she's well on her way to recovery."
With that parting, Dr. Chakwas stepped out and the door hissed closed behind her. Along the railing of the room, Shepard laid on the portable bed from the med bay along with half the med bay equipment. If he was feeling adventurous, he could start that electronic store.
Sparing one more look at the closed metallic door behind him, he sighed heavily at the plan ahead. Perhaps he lost his mind… or he had lost it a long time ago.
Without much thought- in the concern he would hesitate- Garrus began yanking at the straps to his armor. In a matter of seconds, parts of the blue protective covering began sliding down his arms. Clattering to the ground with a hollow thud, Garrus exposed himself from the waist up - the various hard, almost reflective, plates that covered his torso and arms. Flexing his talons, he shifted uncomfortably against the invisible stares he could almost feel touching his skin.
With one hesitant step forward, Garrus' eyes, black from the shadows, focused heavily on Shepard's sleeping form. There was a sense of peace that was never there before and the constant harden resolve on her face had disappeared. Counting down from ten, Garrus approached until he was standing over her.
"You know when I told you that I respected you? I guess it's a little more than that," He said gently, carefully lifting her so he could sit on the bed. With little effort, Garrus shifted her onto his lap, cradling her like he would have done every day of his life- given the chance.
Shivering where her icy skin touched his, he waited for his own body to compensate. Even through the newly acquired, and not torn, shirt from Dr. Chakwas, she was still freezing to the touch.
Garrus simply sat there, with the Commander in his arms and a newfound feeling of happiness for unknown minutes or hours… until Shepard stirred. Stiffening, Garrus quickly debated his options; escape even being one of them.
"I always knew you were hot, Garrus," Shepard whispered into his shoulder through a sigh. Garrus tilted his head, his mandibles twitching in amusement before he released the building chuckle.
"What can I say? Women dig the scars."
Joining in, the Commander laughed along side him before leaning up to his cheek. Her breath against his face caused him to hesitate, but he cautiously accepted the light press of her lips against the scarred side of his face. Pressing her forehead close to his temple, Garrus remained still as she released another suffering sigh.
"Garrus?" He grunted to show his attention, shifting in attempts to ease her into a more comfortable position. She seemed so twisted in his large grasp. "Thanks… for being my Archangel."
Snorting, the Turian pulled her closer to him, if it were at all possible.
"Stay, with me, Garrus," She hummed again, before dropping her head heavily back onto his plated shoulder as if it had the comfort of a pillow.
"I always will, Shepard."